Here are the questions we asked of all councillor candidates:
1)What experience, achievements or character traits would you bring to city council to help deal with the issues facing the city?
2)Do you support the current council's strategy of the last four years on growth and development and the methods of consultation with citizens and neighbourhoods or would you seek a different path?
3)Do you support the current council's bike lane strategy to complete the separated bike lane network or would you work to change that plan?
Most candidates participated in our questionnaire and we send our thanks to all those who did or didn't. We're told there were 30 questionnaires distributed during the campaign, perhaps too many.
These are the candidates' responses, in the order received:
(Click on a name to open, click again to close)
I have a BA in Communication and Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley, from 1966. I was active in civil rights and the anti-war movement in those days. On coming to Canada in 1969, I was Chief Research Assistant at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, then helped create the Georgia Straight Newspaper in Vancouver, organized the Be-in in Prospect Point, Stanley Park, Vancouver. Was elected to the Community Resources Advisory Board in Vancouver during the Barrett administration, 1974. I have a Professional BC Teacher's Certificate and have taught middle school grades in various districts throughout BC--Dept. of Indian Affairs, Nishga School District, and in the lower mainland. I feel I am open-minded in my approach to solving problems, and welcome input into decision making from all sources. I have worked with people from many walks of life.
2)Growth and development
Unfortunately, I don't believe this mayor and city council are democratic, and have their own agenda they want to impose on Victoria. An agenda I don't believe the majority of Victorians agree with. Indeed, that is why I decided to run for office---to bring a more comprehensive and inclusive form of decision making to issues in the city.
I don't believe the mayor and council have done a good job consulting the citizens on these bike lanes. I would vote to stop spending all this money on unnecessary bike lanes, and use that money to find housing for the homeless.
Unlike candidates who have sought union endorsements or are have received donations from developers, I will bring an independent perspective to the council table.
2)Growth and development
Everything that is happening in Victoria now, has already happened in Vancouver—so let’s learn from Vancouver’s mistakes. First mistake. Building more luxury condos is never going to create affordable housing.
While I am a cyclist, I don’t believe that every resident of the city needs to be two minutes away from a bike lane. I am against the plan to take out sixty parking spots between Clover Point and Ogden Point. Leave well enough alone.
I am born and raised in Victoria, so I have deep understanding of our neighbourhoods' character and identity. I have a double-major in sociology and philosophy which has taught me how to navigate socially complex issues. I have worked in the service industry, as a tradesperson, in health care and for non-profits. Being able to understand and relate to the struggles of people in a broad range of vocations and circumstances is essential to being a balanced representative on council. I have worked for over a decade in mental health and addictions supporting people experiencing homeless and in recovery. I have helped run a successful non-profit for the past several years, I am a part owner of a successful local business, and I am a respected advocate for animals in Victoria and across Canada. I have dedicated countless hours to fundraising to support local charities and non-profits and have organized numerous events to build community and vibrancy locally. All of the time and energy dedicated to realizing these achievements has taught me to be patient, think critically, be creative, and remain compassionate to the perspective of others.
2)Growth and development
We have seen substantial changes to our community over the last four years and I’m concerned about whose interest they serve. We have grown and created density in parts of the city, but it has not met the needs of the general public in terms of affordability and protecting the identity of our neighbourhoods. There has been too much of an emphasis on luxury rental and condo development in Victoria, and the public has not received a square deal with developers in what it receives from these projects. Furthermore, many neighbourhoods do not feel that their concerns around development have been validated by the city when brought forward.
I would address these issues by supporting the creation of more purpose-built affordable rental units using the city’s new rental rezoning powers. I would mandate a higher number of units be provided as affordable housing in all new constructions than currently proposed by the city. I would also support a broader diversity of housing options such as co-op housing and tiny houses. Furthermore, I would reimagine the consultation process with neighbourhoods on developments affecting their communities to give more weight to their concerns and protecting their interests.
As a cyclist, I think that bike lanes are a great idea when done right. As I have spoken to people in the community, more people seem upset with the process by which the bike lanes have manifested rather than with the bike lanes themselves. Currently, the city is also dealing with an accessibility challenge for blind people trying to navigate crossing two-way bike lanes with no signals for crossing. I have also heard from many people and businesses regarding the loss of parking spots downtown. I would like to take a step back and create a regional bike network strategy that will address the above issues by laying out what we want our long-term design of the bike lanes to be. I would like this network to link Victoria to surrounding municipalities (Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Saanich) and work with these municipalities to see a continuum of routes. Furthermore, I believe the plan should be laid out in consultation with the public as a complete idea rather than fragmented pieces. It should be constructed in stages to realize the complete goal of the regional strategy within budget and so people have clear expectations for the scope of the project.
My goal is to represent the Citizens of Victoria by being elected to City Council. I have a wonderful life living in Victoria and give back to my community, volunteering with HeroWorks, Our Place and St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
I moved to Victoria from Ontario in 1992 and have lived in several neighbourhoods including Royal Oak, Broadmead, Elk Lake, Rockland and James Bay. My familiarity with Greater Victoria's varied communities will offer a diverse perspective to the Citizens of Victoria.
I have an extensive professional background which includes Real Estate Marketing, Online Media Consulting, Consumer Packaged Goods Sales and other Management Positions.
Currently I am a successful RE/MAX Realtor and take pride in assisting clients with the sale and/or purchase of their homes in Greater Victoria. I am a resident of James Bay and I aspire to earn the votes of many Victoria residents in the October 2018 election.
2)Growth and development
Current Mayor and Council voted February 2017 to replace, rather than refurbish, the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre at an estimated $69.4-million cost. They also proposed doing a referendum on the borrowing and to have that completed by the end of 2017.
I went door to door in September 2018 and talked to residents of the North Park Neighbourhood. They told me they had not been consulted. The last proposal they had seen from the City -involved users of the facility to park on the residential streets. I pointed this out to residents during an All-Candidates meeting for the neighbourhood on September 16. I had suggested talking with the Curling Rink, to discuss options for the neighbourhood.
I put this on my website over a month ago “With a new Mayor and New Council I will also ensure all options are given equal importance for building a new pool, refurbishing the existing one, or even creating a recreation centre and community centre with the Curling Club across the street. I’d like to hear all options instead of forging ahead with a select group calling the shots. And I will assure the residents near Central Park that we will have a plan for the park space.
There are 86,000 residents of Victoria, plus 6,200 businesses in the City - their voices need to be heard. Politicians should represent all of them, not just specific groups.”
No, I do not support the current bike lane strategy. The City of Victoria (taxpayers) is in the process of being sued at the Human Rights Commission by a blind person because of the Pandora Ave dedicated bicycle lanes. BC Transit passengers exit the bus onto a curb, then must cross two bicycle lanes prior to stepping onto the sidewalk. This current design needs to be corrected.
Future expansion of Biketoria should be placed on hold, including the Wharf Street project, until a full review and analysis of how the current bike lanes are working.
25 years of board governance. Enshrining the "Rights of Youth" in care in
the amended Child, Family and Community Services Act. Being chosen by the Canadian Forces for my leadership qualities to train as an Officer Cadet.
Lived experience in homelessness, being in a low socio-economic
demographic, having young children, and being Indigenous. 21 years of post
secondary education in such disciplines as: Science, Indigenous studies,
English, Political Science, Social Work and currently Economics.
2)Growth and development
No. Mistakes have been made. Especially in the quantity of city led
engagement events that have invited the same 12-24 people to each meeting.
These sessions are often not open to the public. You have to receive an
invitation in order to have your concerns heard. In addition you have to rsvp in advance in order that they can screen for the individuals that
they want to hear from. The Development summits should be geared toward the neighbourhood associations, (the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board, as well as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Land Use Sub Committee's to the Board.)
No. I would immediately try to adapt the current Pandora and Fort St. Bike lanes to have bikes travel in the same direction as traffic, as they should considering that when on the road there is the expectation that bicycles follow the Motor Vehicle Act, which means following the rules of the road. The City should licence cyclists. There should be By-Law enforcement in a new department dedicated to fining reckless bikers. Until everyone can be safe on the roads and the City has completed Crystal Pool there should be no more money wasted on bike lanes.
- Life experience
As a renter and a mom to two, I am living the issues I am advocating for, including a lack of family appropriate housing in Victoria and a childcare crisis. As a board member and long time volunteer with the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, I understand the struggles and successes of social service delivery in our community. Evidence based decision making has been a cornerstone of my academic and research consulting work, and I look forward to bringing these skills to bear at the Council table.
2)Growth and development
I am committed to a refocus on growth that meets the needs of those who live and work in Victoria. Growth has been concentrated downtown and, as a result, we have a serious undersupply of family-appropriate housing and a lack of options for seniors to age in place.
I support neighbourhood appropriate initiatives such as garden suites and townhomes. For the approximately 10,000 one bedrooms for rent in the city, there are just 189 three-bedrooms and we need to address this issue with more family-appropriate housing that fits in our neighbourhoods.
I also believe there is opportunity to improve and reduce the time and cost of community planning as well as increase the inclusivity of the process with simple measures. For example, individuals should be able to book a time to speak instead of waiting for hours to have their voice heard. Online streaming, participating via video, and more meaningful online engagement will improve access to the process for those who are less to participate due to disability, childcare, employment or other responsibility.
I will advocate for a mix of transportation options. This includes building and protecting safe and accessible cycling and walking options for all ages and abilities on secondary streets. Temporary and trial options using removable barriers, like flower pots, may also prove useful going forward. In addition to cycling, I will advocate for low-income and sliding scale bus passes for those living in the Capital Regional District by working with and through the VRTC. Other cities have done this to enable the most vulnerable to access community supports, work, and education.
I first became involved in City issues as a community activist in the 1980s. Subsequent to that I have been successfully re-elected to City Council multiple times. I have been liaison to almost every neighbourhood in the city and have an intimate knowledge of what makes each neighbourhood unique. I have sat on the boards of the Greater Victoria Public Library, the CRD Arts Committee, the Royal-McPherson Theatres Society, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, the Victoria Heritage Foundation and the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust. The traits that I have that residents have told me that they value are my commitment to listening to citizens and acting upon their concerns, making principles-based decisions, developing forward-looking & sensible policies and being what they describe as a "voice of reason" on Council.
2)Growth and development
I believe that the City’s view on neighbourhood planning has been too focused on the need/desire to accommodate population growth while not considering other aspects of neighbourhood planning. Growth projections are best accommodated when each neighbourhood is allowed to define how best to achieve those projections within their particular neighbourhood. A ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the neighbourhoods will continue to be divisive. This type of foundational work must take place at the beginning of each planning process and result in an agreed upon framework for the updating of the neighbourhood plan. It is also important that the councillor liaison to the neighbourhood attend the relevant meetings and be able to report back to Council on their progress and if any issues or roadblocks have been encountered. More regular reporting back to Council, including the opportunity for a community representative to participate, would ensure that issues and opportunities are identified throughout the process and not left to the end of the process where a request might come forward from the community to put the process on hold or postpone indefinitely.
I am in favour of providing safe and accessible infrastructure for all modes of travel: pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, those who use mobility aids, scooters, buses, etc. I voted for pressing the pause button after the completion of the Pandora bike lanes. This would have provided an opportunity for successes, failures, challenges and opportunities experienced with the implementation of the Pandora bike lanes to inform the second phase on Fort Street. My observation on the construction of the bike lanes is that equal consideration should have been given to the needs of cyclists and the needs of non-cyclists. The principle should be that by creating safe, and convenient, conditions for cycling we create improved, and safer, conditions for non-cyclists, as well.
In my first term as a councillor, I worked with community members to fight for affordable housing, tackle environmental issues, and make Victoria a vibrant and inclusive place to live. My record of public service includes serving as a Greater Victoria Public Library Board Trustee, a CRD Water Supply Commissioner, a CRD Arts Commissioner, and various committee appointments and liaison roles. In 2018, I was awarded a Certificate in Local Government Leadership from the Local Government Leadership Academy.
Outside of my work on Council, I am the Founder/Director of Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival and I consult as a facilitator and professional speaker. Prior to being elected, I spent 5 years working at the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
I’m passionate about building healthy communities and in 2017 I was selected as a Vanguard Fellow with Next City, a prestigious position for urbanists and city builders under the age of 40.
I bring patience, curiosity and a strong work-ethic to the council table. I believe that my emotional intelligence allows me to connect with residents from all walks of life, empathize with challenges, and work collaboratively to find solutions.
2)Growth and development
No. I believe the City is need of a governance review. This third-party review would look at how City decisions are made and how residents’ voices are heard. The City needs to prioritize clear, meaningful and responsive public engagement and ensure that residents’ voices are centered in City decision making.
I think the City needs to demand more from developers to make development work better for residents and to ensure the development process is creating affordable and appropriate housing. For the past four years, I pushed for strong inclusionary zoning provisions, knowing every development approved without these policies in place was a missed opportunity. At the end of the term, Council finally passed a policy mandating 15% of qualifying condo developments to be affordable rental housing. Along with Councillor Madoff and Councillor Isitt, I made amendments to strengthen the policy further, but those efforts were not supported by the majority of council. I also support new policies and bylaws to protect character homes and existing rental stock.
I believe that everyone should be able to travel safely throughout the City no matter what mode of transportation they choose. For this reason, I support building safe and protected cycling infrastructure. I will advocate for a change in how this network is being implemented though. Future lanes should be implemented on a “pilot project” basis with cheap and rapid implementation using bollards and planters that can be moved and adjusted as needed. This will save time, money, and allow adjustments to be made based on user experience, public input, and engineering evaluation. Accessibility is also a top priority for me. In my first term I started the City’s Accessibility Working Group and secured annual funding for accessibility upgrades to City infrastructure and facilities. I will insist that the Accessibility Working Group is consulted regarding any new cycling infrastructure and that this infrastructure doesn’t create barriers for people with disabilities or mobility challenges.
I have worked on housing projects including below market rentals, subsidized housing and market priced housing. I have been involved in the production of much needed housing for 1/2 my life and have experience in planning, zoning, bylaws and the building code. I am honest and a great listener. I will use my experiences to make sure that public consultation is not only done but listened to and represented in decisions. I have run million dollar companies internationally and across Canada. I work well with people and am happy to learn and am willing to change my mind when given a good argument.
2)Growth and development
I do not support the development process over the last four years and have found regardless of the input by residents city council does not care and moves ahead with the developments put in front of them by developers. I have never seen a city council so easily persuaded to not provide what the residents want. Consultation has been a smoke screen with input from unknown sources and reference made to surveys that do not include names and addresses.
In a recent approved development the developer had about a dozen individuals speak to the merits of a proposal at the council meeting. The majority of those who spoke were not affected by the development and were honest about their connection to the developer. When voting in favour of the project the council and mayor said their decision was partially based on the great feedback from these individuals. Do they really think that the public is blind and dumb or just giving false reasons for their vote.
I would look at changing the plan with true consultation from cyclist and non cyclist. These bike lanes are the largest change in infrastructure this city has seen in a hundred years and have been put together and implemented on a whim. Secondary roads and a less intrusive method would be what I would promote. Looking at example from around the world cost virtually nothing but could provide us with the best bike network the world has to offer.
I am a Self Employed Carpenter who has served Victoria area residents for over 25 years. I live in Vic-West with my Partner Leah and our two daughters. I have been a long time grassroots organizer and I have been a member of an Advisory Board working with the City addressing Poverty. The board met for a year & half. The City didn’t respond well to our ideas. Statuesque isn’t an accident. I have also been involved with many committees within the grassroots, Earthwalk Victoria, Vic Indy Media, Together Against Poverty Society, and the Committee to End Homelessness. I have been active in the Green Party, running as a hopeful MLA in Vic-Hillside in 2005 earning 12% of the Vote and have been a regional rep for the Provincial Party and have been a Board Member for the Federal Greens Victoria EDA, in my last run for civic office our small money campaign earned 3856 votes. Thank you Victoria! Now let’s see if more people are waking up to fact that small money Candidates hold lots of potential for Democratic change in Victoria.
2)Growth and development
It’s clear the Current Council has been too aggressive with its growth and development strategy. It appears most of the outcomes were pre decided and the consultation process was just a formality. This has caused many people to distrust City Council. We need to earn people’s trust again by adhering to Official Community Plans and weighing Resident input with more clout. Council is supposed to serve the residents using facts of the issues in context and by accumulating the communities' sentiments in a Public Process that has Integrity at its core.
Instead, we are being fed aspects of the issue to lead the people to the conclusions the City supports. A new Fire Hall because the old one has a brick facade is a great example of this. Modern building techniques means those bricks are physically attached with re-enforcing steel, meaning they can’t fall off blocking in the Fire Trucks inside. False narratives cost us money and the potential to address real issues Victoria faces. We need to be dealing the truth in context not aspects of issues that support a Developers plan over the Residents wishes.
The current Bike Lane strategy shows City Council is very willing to serve vocal interest groups at the cost of common sense. These very costly amendments went in way too fast and without enough public input. $14 Million can buy 14 km of highway, we got a few short kilometers of concrete curbs and some benches? I don’t support throwing money away, I do support cycling infrastructure but don’t support a War between Cyclists & Automobile drivers.
Cycling infrastructure shouldn’t be placed on main arteries and should be articulated to reach out into the neighbourhoods to increase ridership and access to Victoria. To do so much development in the Heart of the City and so little for the rest of Victoria shows this council isn’t focused on serving residents but instead are pushing over the top infrastructure in an effort to appease a vocal interest group. I will advocate to build future Cycling Infrastructure in a less obstructive manner.
I believe in public service and community. I love Victoria, and believe I can contribute to opportunities and challenges ahead.
My science training, regulatory work in health and safety, and research administration experience prepared me for an important role addressing significant environmental problems. On the James Bay Neighbourhood Association Quality of Life Committee, I worked collaboratively producing transportation studies, active transportation projects, air quality sand noise studies. I will take this dedication to the City.
At Council I would rely on statistically relevant data, on the wisdom and knowledge of residents and City staff subject matter specialists. I have approached emissions, parks, and transportation challenges this way.
My independence, of not being beholden to any special interest group, permits me to take chances, to speak up for the City as I did with the CRD Wastewater Committee’s outdated contract guarantee to emissions.
Although my role as a Councillor would differ from that of neighbourhood advocate, my knowledge about the workings of the city and residents’ needs will serve me and the community well.
Victoria needs to move forward while respecting and safeguarding our heritage and way of life. I believe strong neighbourhoods make a stronger city.
2)Growth & Development
Population targets can be met while respecting the OCP and neighbourhood plans. The City’s disregard for its own policies and bylaws, especially with neighbourhood development and parking, has broken trust with many. I support growth but not “Vancouverization” of neighbourhoods into Yale Town; the OCP suggests high-density growth along Douglas/Blanshard north of the design district.
Residents in neighbourhoods want human-scale intimate villages, not “urban” villages. I support the realm of housing, from traditional single family to high-rises.
Regarding consultation, the City has muddled communications, engagement, and consultation. The City signed on to but not followed the IAP2 process: International Association of Public Participation. The process promotes differing levels of participation – from informing to project co-development. A key value is participants stating their desired level of involvement. Another is identifying those affected by a project or policy. Recent high-profile projects/policies with failed consultation-resolution are: 1) Biketoria, 2) Parking, 3) ‘the statue’, 4) Local Area Plans.
Neighbourhood residents should have the strongest voice in Local Area Plan creation.
The City should follow the IAP2 process, change the planning cycle (See “Rezoning Process” schematic attached) and require staff to consider CALUC and other Public Comments before making recommendations.
The City should follow the IAP2 process, change the planning cycle and require staff to consider CALUC and other Public Comments before making recommendations.
“Separated bike lane network” is a broad term with many interpretations. There are several methods of separating cycle lanes from vehicular lanes. The current form of “protected” separated lanes are contentious, and rightly so.
I support bike lanes that serve the community and respect other street users, including sidewalk and roadway users. In my own neighbourhood I worked with others, consulted broadly, and proposed lanes to serve residents and visitors rather than support the “Biketoria lane”. Biketoria was led by the City’s “Engagement” group rather than subject-experts - Transportation staff. Voices from outside the City were given more weight than local land-use committees.
Three months ago difficulties for the blind in accessing the sidewalk on Pandora were raised. The City has not yet attempted to increase safety for the blind and others with mobility challenges. The network lanes, from Government/Vancouver/Cook going forward, need to be paused; consultation with near-by residents and businesses needs to be started anew.
The “8 to 80” concept, introduced years, ago supports creating a city that is great for those who are 8 and those who are 80. Rather than embrace this concept, the City has focused on a specific need of cyclists.
I expect to bring a combination of technical training and on-the-job experience to the City council and Capital Regional District director jobs I am running for.
A former university teacher of economics, I worked as an economist with the British Columbia Ministries of Economic Development and Finance. I participated in various economic research projects, cost-benefit studies, and evaluations of public expenditure in Alberta and British Columbia. I have a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and a B.A. with honours in Economics from UBC, and have been a partner in Discovery Economic Consulting, a Victoria firm, for some years.
From the practical side, I have learned from my seat at city council and at the Regional District the need to really think through longer term impacts of the decisions we make and to be mindful of unintended consequences. The instinct to group-think is more powerful than most of us realize and we are all, myself included, susceptible to its subtle pull. I do think, however, that my professional training as an economist and my experience as a business owner does make me both more cautious and more independent in my approach to decision making.
2)Growth and development
I have not been as strong an advocate of the level and pace of development within traditional residential neighbourhoods over the past years as many of my colleagues on council. I am concerned that we could be heading down a road that will profoundly affect the look and characteristics of the city for many decades and we will lose the qualities that make Victoria an attractive destination.
Housing affordability remains a challenging issue, and Victorians generally recognize the need for new housing, but we must respect the views of the current residents (some of whom are likely to be negatively affected by change) and ensure that engagement is broad and deep. Our job is not to “sell” a plan, but to allow people the time and opportunity to give their thoughtful input on new proposals and changes in community plans.
It must be remembered too that housing challenges affect the whole region and solutions need to be regional. Victoria is a minority in the region, and we simply cannot shoulder the entire burden, either through zoning or financial subsidies, to solve the housing affordability problem.
I voted to delay the implementation of the Fort Street bikeway to allow us to better learn from the experience of Pandora, and regret that the majority of council did not support that proposal. The time taken to complete the Fort Street lanes, the impact on businesses along Fort, and the constraints on vehicle drivers and those parking on the street might have been mitigated with more time to plan and possibly achieve lower construction costs.
As well, I think we need to find ways to minimize the significant impacts the system has had on travel times for motor vehicles and also for pedestrians. Pedestrian crossing times at the intersection at the East end of the new bridge (for example) are not acceptable, in my view.
Having said that, as an everyday bicycle commuter I do recognize that Pandora and Fort Street were envisioned as part of a network and their full potential to provide a transportation corridor is linked to establishing north/south routes that complement the current east/west routes. The next phase, with a route along Wharf, provides one link, but a period of experience may be desirable before launching another phase of north-south route construction.
I have a unique experience that I would like to use to contribute to the community. I have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a bachelor's degree in environmental & sanitary engineering. I understand how cities are built. We have a small business that we have been operating for 7 years now. I am a very good listener.
2)Growth and development
No. This is one of the reasons I am running for council. I feel that we should have been consulted about the John A. MacDonald statue. I do not agree with the locations of the current developments of condos in our city. I feel that developers and foreign investors are more favored than the residents of Victoria.
No. I do not support the bike lane that is currently laid out. The bike lane are premium cost for our tax dollars. We could have a cheaper bike lane that is functional for the intended purposes. I am curious to know if we are actually contributing less pollution to the environment by having the bike lanes.
Let us say that most cyclists ride their bikes from 6 to 8 AM in the morning going to work and 4 to 6 PM in the afternoon going home. So, in other times, vehicles are using the roads. Delivery trucks are taking the produce or other products to restaurants and other business. But this time, they have to spend more time in the intersections because the traffic lights are different. The cars will be doing the same thing. Do you really lessen the pollution, because the vehicles are now having more running time that being park sooner?
As the Board Chairman of Threshold Housing Society, I know how to achieve a cohesive environment among diverse perspectives and viewpoints. Working closely and collaboratively with those who have alternate viewpoints is an important skill to have on any board, as well as our city council. My work with Threshold also gives me a unique perspective on the issue of homelessness and how limited resources can be allocated to achieve the best possible solutions for those we serve and the community as a whole.
I also bring my knowledge and skills from my time working at the Trust for Sustainable Development. That not only taught me a great deal about building and development, but also about how to do so in a sustainable and environmentally-responsible way. It has emboldened my belief that we need a city council that thinks long-term as opposed to being focused on short-term political benefit.
Being under 30, and a two-time finalist of the Vancouver Island Top 20 under 40, I believe that younger voices need to play a more significant leadership role in Victoria. I think providing a younger voice would be an asset to the council as a whole.
2)Growth and development
I believe the current council's strategy with regards to growth and development has been flawed and unnecessarily combative and controversial. I am a strong proponent of zoning reform which can provide stability to residents and neighbourhoods as well as developers for the benefit of all.
Victoria has 687 different zones. In comparison to our city of 85,792 people, the City of Vancouver with 631,486 people has less than 100 zoning codes.
This is the result of constant exceptions to the rules, deviations from the OCP, and seemingly endless exercises in spot-zoning from the council table. This is bad for homeowners as well as bad for builders. If we overhaul, modernize, and simplify zoning codes and bylaws that will provide predictability for everyone. Homeowners want to know that their intimate residential street won't suddenly have a six-storey condo building in the middle of the block while developers need to know what can be done with a property they are looking at purchasing and not wait one or two years for an answer.
Let's give both homeowners and developers reasonable expectations and predictability about the future of our neighbourhoods with zoning reform.
I generally support bike lanes but as a result of a lack of proper consultation, cost overruns, and botched implementation, what should have been a simple and noble endeavor has become one of the most divisive issues in the city.
Unidirectional bike lanes should have always been the priority. Other cities have long since abandoned multi-directional bike lanes that feature cyclists riding straight at one another. When it comes to continuing the bike network, it is vital that we have broad community engagement that includes residents with diverse abilities, local residents, business owners, traffic experts, community planners, BC Transit, emergency first responders, and other stakeholders.
We must also ensure that we build active transportation infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way. Bike lanes are a great part of an active transportation network, but if residents do not feel their concerns are being heard and their tax dollars respected, then that is doing more harm than good.
We also must remember that biking is but one form of active transportation. We need an active transportation network that supports a range of modalities – wheelchairs, strollers, pedestrians, skateboarders, and transit-users, not just prioritizing cyclists above all others.
I am a community organizer, mother, former frontline worker, and current Volunteer Manager at Our Place Society. I hold a degree in Political Science and Human Dimensions of Climate Change from the University of Victoria and have committed my career to advocating for environmental and social causes.
My experience working with those less fortunate as well as my own lived experience motivated me to advocate for solutions to address poverty. As a Co-Chair and founding member of Basic Income Victoria, I led a local campaign that resulted in the City of Victoria becoming the first municipality in British Columbia to endorse a universal guaranteed income for all Canadians.
My work in housing, poverty alleviation, addictions, and environmental justice gives me an up-close, frontline perspective on the challenges facing residents of this city. I see the effects of the housing crisis and the opioid epidemic every day. These challenges will not simply disappear.
2)Growth and development (this response from all three Together Victoria candidates)
Together Victoria does not support the current council’s development strategy of building primarily high-income housing with the hope that it will eventually become affordable as it ages. The current approach also largely excludes family-oriented housing from being built (e.g. 2-3 bedroom units). Together Victoria will ensure that at least half of all new housing is affordable and also require a minimum number of family-oriented housing units in new multi-unit developments. We need affordable housing now. We will also set amenity contribution rates at higher levels to support a mixture of affordable housing and community amenities (e.g. parks, art and street improvements). Developers need to make a profit, but not at the expense of paying their fair share.
Together Victoria supports more community influence in decisions as outlined in our platform. We support increased neighbourhood influence on how infrastructure and amenities are selected, including exploring neighbourhood-level participatory budgeting. Every neighbourhood resident who wants a voice in consultations should have one, not just those who are able to attend the meeting. We support the creation of a new online system for consultations, including developments, rezoning, and community planning. Additional measures such as child-minding would also make in-person consultations easier to access.
3)Bike lanes (this response from all three Together Victoria candidates)
We are committed to completing the downtown bike network. We are also committed to ensuring future projects learn from the experience of the construction of the network to date. We need safe, family-friendly north-south connections to make cycling a realistic transportation option for everyone in Victoria. Returning to the planning stage at this point will result in wasted resources and time, which we cannot afford. A robust bike network will reduce congestion and stress on parking facilities downtown, while making our city a more pleasant place to be. We will support robust consultation and an exploration of alternatives for the further expansion of the cycling network.
I am currently an instructor at the University of Victoria, teaching Social Inequality and Social Justice Studies. Previously, I worked for Victoria Women in Need, for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Northern Uganda, and as the Executive Director of the Victoria Multicultural Society. I am the co-founder of Divest Victoria, and I received a Victoria Community Leadership Award for my work in sustainability and community building. I also co-published a book entitled Women, Adult Education and Leadership in Canada.
I have lived in Victoria for 11 years, and I have been actively engaged in community organizing to support affordable housing, to protect our watersheds, to protect our coast, to stand up for civil liberties, and I am also a delegate to the Victoria Labour Council.
We are currently facing a housing crisis and we are at a critical time for our environment. It is essential that we elect city councillors willing to put forward courageous policies to address the challenges that we face.
I was the facilitator of Refugee Volunteer Support Services at the Inter-cultural Association and the youth facilitator at Victoria Immigrant Refugee Centre Society. I am also current co-chair of the Canadian Council of Refugee’s Working Group on Immigration and Settlement at national level and previously served on the executive committee. I am community organizer and human rights advocate.
In 2017, I was awarded a Community Leadership Award in recognition of all my contributions to Victoria. I have worked with local MPs and Doctors for Refugees, and lobbied the B.C. Ministry of Health, to advocate for better health care access for refugees as part of a national campaign to reverse cuts to health care for refugees. I celebrated when the Supreme Court of Canada reversed the health care cuts.
I am the president of the Victoria Coalition for Survivors of Torture. I started World Refugee Day in Victoria. I was a longtime steering committee member for the city’s Community Action Plan on Discrimination coalition. I served as a steering committee member for the Victoria Tenant Action Group. I also served on the Youth Crime Prevention Steering Committee and the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group.
Approachable, Committed and Enthusiastic.
I come with a managerial background with the past 8 years of direct understanding, negotiating and applying collective agreements with an employer of 550 union members
I am a Member of the Greater Victoria Police Diversified Advisory Committee whose mandate is to help the police better understand the ethnic culture, value systems and religious sensitivities of all the minority groups they serve in our diverse society.
I have been a Restorative Justice Facilitator for over 10 years, this ability will assist in the role of councillor. RJ advocates are ones who take community well-being approach to conflict resolution.
I am a homeowner and landlord who understands the need to keep Victoria affordable for all.
I along with my spouse, siblings, children and grandchildren have all been born in Victoria. My goal is to enable the next generation to want to remain in this city along with your families.
I will bring responsible government: Accountability, Public Safety, Community Development and Fiscal Responsibility.
2)Growth and development
I would seek a different path with the consultation of the citizens and neighbourhoods. In door knocking at the homes of our residents there is a huge gap in what is being said versus what is being heard. There has to be greater number of boots on the ground in each neighbourhood for consultation of projects that impact the neighbourhood parking, greenspace, look.
We are hearing loud and clear that on-line surveys are not working as the effected community is not the voice but rather special interest groups or citizens outside the directly effected area. People attend evening council meetings say the formatting and the lateness to which they extend does not allow their voice to be heard. I will advocate to have changes made to hear citizens' concerns and meetings ending earlier.
I support the building of a community wide network that does work for all ages and abilities. We have heard from many residents that the current designs on Pandora and Fort are not working. There needs to be greater consultation with all to provide a better, safer and useable design. The bike lanes are an excellent alternative for all and need to have safety as its greatest priority.
Some of the changes we are asked to do: single direction bike travel, yellow yield signal on the bike traffic signal, visual/audible cues at every crosswalk for cyclist to stop for pedestrians and wider lanes for the buses to 3.3 meters vs the 3. As with the Cook Street corridor being changed residents should not have to fight for 2 years to get the bike lane changed to Vancouver Street.